Author Archives: aarenas95

Andrew Arenas’ Theoretical Analysis of Cool Runnings


The latest theory that we went over in class today was African American Criticism. Within this theory there are distinctive branch groups by categorizing them in terms of three branches: Materialist/Ideology, Literary and Critical Race Theory. A film that I was looking forward to analyzing ever since I got this particular theory assigned is the Disney movie Cool Runnings. It explores themes of perseverance against great odds, cheating, second chances, and developing self-esteem. Watching this movie as a young child, it was a great introduction to what Jamaica is and the Olympics as a whole. Released in the early 90’s Disney, along with other film companies have always been criticized for releasing films with little to no minority stars in them. Times have changed since then with actors from many different racial and cultural backgrounds headlining animated and live action movies like Princess and The Frog and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Cool Runnings is a film based on the inspiring story of the bobsled team sent by Jamaica to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. The members of the bobsled team are role models for individuals determined to succeed. The coach (who is white) is a role model for someone who has cheated, but having acknowledged his mistake, seeks a second chance.

It is important to have a little bit of context of what the country of Jamaica is before going into this movie. Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean which was a British colony until 1962. The Jamaican people are descendants of slaves brought from Africa to work on plantations. They speak English because the plantation managers would not let the slaves keep the languages they brought from Africa and required them to speak only English.

After the Second World War had ended, Germany was divided into two countries, communist East Germany and democratic/capitalist West Germany. For the purposes of propaganda, the East German government invested heavily in its own sports teams. The team that ridiculed the Jamaicans was from East Germany. Germany was reunited into one country in 1991 when the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia ended. Switzerland is a very small mountainous country in the center of Europe. Like the Germans, the Swiss have a reputation for being very good engineers. Most of Switzerland is in the Alps and the Swiss have excelled at winter sports.

The country of Switzerland is a very small mountainous country in the center of Europe. Similar to the Germans, the Swiss have a reputation for being very good engineers. Most of Switzerland is in the Alps and the Swiss have also excelled at winter sports.

What really made the films messages resonate is that they can apply to anyone regardless of race or ethnic background. The theme of fairness is playing by the rules; Take turns and share; being open-minded; listen to others; Don’t take advantage of others; Don’t blame others carelessly just by the color of their skin. Lastly the theme of trustworthiness is always being honest. Don’t deceive, cheat or steal; be reliable and do what you say you’ll do.

Andrew Arenas’ Bridge to the Blog

In class we discussed Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play and what goes into the performance of a character. For this post I want to outline what we should all look for whenever analyzing a play. First it is important to identify the key elements to better organize your thoughts. The setting and time period, main characters, supporting characters, main conflict, and resolution are the best ones to look at. Since plays can be in a variety of different genres like tragedy’s and comedy’s, look for the specific features that define them. Its best to look at how it meets or strays from the expectations you had for that particular genre.

Taking consideration of historical context is also very helpful. Plays can send a message or a statement about a particular time period. Analyzing themes or topics and seeing how they tie together is an important step in analyzing a play. Characters that act out all of these themes and topics are the main evidence to support an analysis if they employ typical dramatic conventions. The general organization of a play is solely based on its setting and plot. Look at the effect of the audience.

Looking at the appearance of the stage is crucial to knowing the element of the setting. In the case where you are reading a play, examine the significance of stage notes or any kind of context an author gives you before an act starts. Dramatic works of any kind combine many literary elements from poetry and prose fiction and that drama employs an objective point of view. Take a look at the production and what has significance in it any symbols, themes, or even the lighting of the stage.

Lastly, look and see if the play fails to answer any questions that you feel that need to be answered. If it’s a minor thing than it is okay to gloss over them. Knowing what your analysis is what is significant is important to leave the person reading it something to think about well after they have read it.